Delhi: 775 pedestrians killed in 2018
Between 2010 and 2018, 7,083 pedestrians were among the 16,107 killed due to road crashes in Delhi. That is an unacceptably high 44% of all road deaths in the city. A further 22,506 pedestrians were injured on Delhi’s roads during this period.
Pedestrian deaths did decrease annually, averaging at 2% each year from 2010-18. Other cities, however, fared better than Delhi in reducing pedestrian deaths. For instance, Bangalore and Mumbai recorded average annual reductions of 5% and 7% respectively over the same period. Delhi’s poorer performance can be largely attributed to the spike in pedestrian deaths that the city has recorded in the last three years. Since 2015, pedestrian deaths in Delhi have been on the rise, with the steepest increase of 10% coming in 2017-18.
Delhi’s road safety policy, which was announced last year, aspires to reduce road deaths by 30% between 2018 and 2020 and by 80% between 2018 and 2025. This goal will be unattainable unless our actions are directed towards analyzing and tackling risks that impact pedestrians, who comprise a majority of all road deaths in the city. Rightly so, the policy acknowledges the high proportion of pedestrian deaths and presents a set of measures revolving around providing obstruction-free footpaths, crossing facilities, and traffic calming measures.
It intends to develop an NMT policy for Delhi to protect the most vulnerable road users and plans on dedicated resource allocation to ensure safe and accessible road system for them. Removing encroachments and obstructions on pedestrian pathways and providing uninterrupted walking zone for pedestrians as recommended by IRC 103: 2012 is also listed as a priority. It said that a parking policy will also be notified to tackle with problems of encroachment and occupation of road space.
Further, it plans to introduce traffic calming measures to physically reduce the speed in vulnerable stretches such as near schools, hospitals, within half a kilometer of bus terminals and other busy community areas. The policy also talks about providing safe pedestrian crossing facilities as per IRC 103:2012 near the entrance and exit of all vulnerable locations. Bus queue shelters will also be kept free of obstructions from vendors and all other vehicular traffic to ensure proper halting of buses and safe boarding/ alighting of commuters.
It is unclear whether and how many of these policy intentions have translated to effective measures to reduce road crashes in the past one year. Between 2017 and 2018, while road deaths in Delhi have increased by 6%, pedestrian deaths have increased by 10%. Delhi’s budget apportioned for the last three years, however, does not adequately acknowledge this growing problem. Aiming to improve road safety, last year’s budget proposed construction of 12 Automated Driving Test tracks to ensure that all driving tests in Delhi are conducted with minimal manual intervention and with best assessment techniques. While these measures are important, the primary focus should be on providing basic infrastructure such a footpaths and crossings in the city to safeguard pedestrians.
Delhi Development Authority recently announced plans to come up with a walkability plan for 19 locations in the city. Efforts like these are immediately necessary to stay on track to achieve the outlined policy goals. It would also be important to not overlook the relevance of improving pedestrian safety to improving air quality in the city. Nearly 34% of all trips in the city are made by walking. Ignoring safety of pedestrians may potentially encourage a modal shift away from walking and may prove detrimental to a city that is already reeling with tremendous air pollution problems.
We hope that this year will see a fast-paced implementation of measures outlined in this policy and a sizeable investment is made to make the city safer for pedestrians.
Pedestrian crashes in Delhi (2010-2018)Source: This data was obtained through an RTI application filed with the Delhi Traffic Police. It would be important to note that these numbers point to only reported road crashes and the actual number of crashes could be higher.